Starry Nights in New Mexico

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

-Walt Whitman

Tonight I watched Venus set in the west behind the Jemez Mountains. It seems like weeks since it’s been clear enough to check out the summer sky.

Copyright Darren KirbyI

Photo by Darren Kirby

I turned off the lights in the house and went out on the portal where I had a clear view of the Big Dipper overhead.  To the south I could see Scorpius with the red star Antares at its heart and Sagittarius, shaped like a teapot.  Chet Raymo’s book 365 Starry Nights is still my favorite star-watching guide.  I used my original copy until it fell apart and had to buy a new one; it has great line drawings and just the right mix of mythology and science.

To find out  which planets are in view this month I went to EarthSky’s website and discovered that if I get up early enough I will be able to see the trio of Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury.  Not likely . . .









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